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New Tow Vehicle

Ron in Atlanta

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Not a sunset picture, not a big fish or a Pathfinder at the sandbar...this is my new tow vehicle and I wanted to share it with the "family".

2017 Toyota Tacoma, TRD Sport edition.  Tow capacity 6800 lbs, 6 cylinder, I'm getting 24 miles per gallon, a 5 mile per gallon improvement over my 2008 Tacoma.  This thing drives like a car, not a truck.

Not the truck you want if you are towing a horse trailer or lugging around top soil - this is a yuppie truck for sure.  The only thing that goes in the bed are the boat cushions, life jackets, etc.  The tonneau  cover back there is lockable so you can stop for lunch somewhere and your stuff is safe back there.

This has been perfect towing for my 2200 TRS and I live in Atlanta so to use the boat, it's going to be a long tow!  I did add an additional leaf to the rear suspension which keeps the heavy tongue weight from the Ameritrail rig from dropping the rear down.  Without the extra leaf, bumper would drop 2 inches, with the extra leaf, no noticeable lowering.



Note the fake hood scoop.  I laughed at the sales gal at first but had to admit, it looks cool.


A few coats of Zaino...


...and good to go.

One other thing.  The stock truck comes with a silly looking chrome grill.  They have a high end, off road model that has a cool black grill.  When negotiating for the truck, I asked if the dealership could substitute the black grill in the deal (the opening is the same size), they agreed.


See you at the ramp.


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1 hour ago, Ridding_Dirty said:

  just watch the braking.  Drive slow and over compensate and your good to go. 

Great advice!  That is great advice for any type of driving, especially towing a trailer.  I think following too closely is a major cause of accidents in all vehicles.  

Of course, here in Atlanta, just getting in your car is a major cause of accidents.

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  • 1 year later...

Hello Ron. How has the Tacoma served you as a towing vehicle? I live in Charleston SC and occasionally tow a boat to the Keys (over two days). I recently purchased a  2200 Pathfinder, with Yam 150 and T-top, and tow it locally with an older Tacoma, V-6. It does fine for short hauls and frankly, has been a great truck (bought it new in 2006). I’m debating whether to buy another Tacoma or buying something larger...your thoughts?

Thanks, Joe

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11 hours ago, Forester51 said:

buy another Tacoma or buying something larger...your thoughts?

Hey Joe,

This rig has served very well as a tow vehicle, everywhere from the ACE Basin (over your way) to the Everglades and the Florida Panhandle.

With that said, "it serves ME very well", the things that I think are very important in any vehicle may be quite different from the things that you feel are important. For example...

...the first car I've ever owned was a 1958 Austin Healy 106 (wish I still had it today, its worth around $50,000 in good shape).  What followed was a succession of 2-seat sports cars, Triumph TR-4, MGA, MGB, Spitfire and the one that ran the best, an Alpha Romeo GTV.  OK, maybe the Corvette ran better, just not as classy.  All high gas milage cars, even the Vette.

I was driving the Corvette when I first pulled into Linsey Marine in Stuart Florida and saw my first Pathfinder, the 20 footer.  There was a hitch on the Vette, I used to tow an 18 foot racing cat (sail).  The cat weighed 165 lbs., less than I do, carbon fiber all the way.  I asked the Linsey crew what the Pathfinder weighed, could the Vette handle it?  Once they stopped laughing they said that I would need a pickup truck to tow the Pathy.  "I'm from New York, what's a pickup truck?"  They showed me a picture.  "Oh, that's what that is, everyone in Atlanta has one of those."

I had fallen in love with the Pathfinder so I researched pickup trucks when I got home.  Here is the key phrase, given my vehicular background, I wanted the smallest truck that would safely do the job.  The Tacoma fit that criteria very well.  And the new Tacoma (2016 model) continues to fit that criteria.  When I moved up to the 22 TRS, I got the newer truck with a small increase in horse power from the older one and I was good to go.

Two things to know.  1) every once an a while, on a backroad, going up a steep hill, she strains to maintain speed.  It happens rarely and when it does, she shifts down a few gears and gets it done.  2) The truck was in for minor repairs and the rental they gave me was a Dodge Ram something or other with a 5.7 liter V-8 Hemi!!  That thing towed like there was no boat back there but the 16 MPG without a tow was too much for me.  Al Gore would drive down from Tennessee and smack me alongside the head.

In conclusion:  If you want a good looking truck that handles very well when not towing, gets good gas mileage and does just fine towing - get the Tacoma.  If you do not care about the MPG and the "commercial look" (my wife said that the Dodge looked like something a plumbing contractor would drive - not that there is anything wrong with being a plumbing contractor) of the bigger trucks, get something beefier.

If you do decide to look at the Tacoma, PM me and I'll give you a list of the extras that make this truck special.

Good luck with the 2200 TRS and good luck finding the new tow vehicle.

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Hey Ron,

thanks for the feedback, it’s very helpful. Actually, my criteria is similar to yours. My last two trucks were Tacoma’s and I couldn’t be more pleased. I like the comfort and towing capacity of the larger trucks but I can’t imagine driving and parking one around downtown Charleston. In light of your feedback, I’ll likely go with another Tacoma!  Thanks again!

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17 hours ago, Forester51 said:

I’ll likely go with another Tacoma!

If you do and don't mind spending a few bucks, add the following to the stock truck...

1) Running boards, as seen in the photos above.  You don't need them to get up in the truck but they will help prevent door dings from the SUV next to you in the parking lot.  Their door will hit the running board, not your door.  And they look cool!

2) Get the tonneau cover that I have, not the folding one the dealer will try to sell you.  Theirs is not waterproof, the one I have will keep your stuff dry even during a Florida rain storm.

3) Got to your local trailer hitch/trailer dealer and get an extra leaf spring added to the rear suspension.  That will keep your trucks rear from dropping 2 inches when you hook up the trailer and lower it onto the ball.

4) Get the chrome exhaust tip, no performance improvement, again, it just looks cool.

5) Get the TRD Sport model, it has the fake hood scoop and some other flair that adds to the looks.


Good luck!


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  • 2 months later...

I currently tow my 2003 2200V with a V6 Dodge Durango and it does great towing and gets great mileage.  My lease is about due and I've thought about a different vehicle just to be able to compare it to the Durango and thought about the 4Runner or Tacoma.  I posted the question on the Hull Truth and got several comments regarding safety issues while towing a bay boat with a short-wheel base SUV or truck while performing an emergency maneuver at highway speed.  I'm trying to find out what the issue is.

Pathfinder says my rig would with full tank of gas would be right at 5,000 lbs, which is the limit for the 4Runner and about 80% of the Tacoma or Durango.  I never tow it very far with a full tank.

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On 10/30/2019 at 8:37 AM, Slo Poke1 said:

safety issues while towing a bay boat with a short-wheel base SUV or truck while performing an emergency maneuver at highway speed.

I would agree, driving ANYTHING with a short wheel base is dangerous and uncomfortable.  I spent 2 years in the Army running around in a JEEP (a real Jeep, not the one you see on the road today) miserable ride, dangerous (well, there WERE people shooting at me), but that little sucker could climb any dirt hill and never get stuck.

The SUV may have a short wheelbase but the Tacoma Access Cab has a wheelbase of 127.4 inches, handles well with 4 Michelin Defenders at the corners and handles the boat well.  Have not been in a "emergency maneuver" yet but am confident the rig will handle it as well as a much larger truck.  I'll have to get back to you on that one.

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I've been towing my 1900 with a 2018 Ram 1500 with 5.7L Hemi. No kidding, I get wonderful gas mileage. Normal Hwy driving without the boat behind it, I'm averaging almost 21mpg. this includes mixed use interstate (75mph) and 2 lane hwy (55mph) driving. I don't tow very far, but I would imagine that I'm getting 16-18mpg at 55mph with the boat behind it. My last 2 Tundras had the worst economy of any trucks I've ever owned.  The best fuel economy I got WITHOUT the boat was 17.5mpg. My Ram is currently for sale if anyone might be interested. I'm looking to get a Ram 2500 diesel in the near future. 

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you sinner, how could you have a hitch on a vette let alone tow with it. I went out and kissed mine and told it I would never do that too her. All kidding aside the Tacoma is a sweet ride. My son loves his and tows a 21’ travel trailer with his. I like your color better. That would be my choice also. Fin😀 

off topic,

good morning Ron,

Had a bad night. Bad dreams of Corvettes towing trailers of ZANIO, night sweats. Went and thru all my ZANIO out. Hope your happy with yourself my friend. Have a great day. 🙏😀Fin

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